Key Points of this Article:
- Slip and fall accidents can lead to severe injuries and can happen more often in the winter due to snow and ice.
- Property owners have a responsibility to keep their property reasonably free of hazards like snow and ice.
- Proving fault in a premises liability case is challenging and often requires the help of a lawyer.
Slip and fall accidents are a leading cause of injury every year. According to the CDC, over 800,000 people are hospitalized every year due to a fall-related injury, and of the injuries sustained, head injuries and hip fractures are the most common. Traumatic brain injury is particularly common among individuals who slip and fall and hit their heads.
Unfortunately in the winter months, slip and fall accidents tend to increase, with elderly individuals being most at risk. When snow and ice accumulate, especially on walkways and steps, it can pose a hazard that can easily lead to injury. While property owners are responsible for keeping their property reasonably clear of snow and ice, they don’t always do so.
If you are injured on someone else’s property, whether it is a residential or commercial space, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim. However, proving liability in these cases is not always easy. It may be necessary to contact a personal injury lawyer who has experience handling premises liability cases to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
What Does the Law State in Kentucky on Premises Liability in the Winter?
In Kentucky, the law mandates that property owners must keep their property safe through what is known as “duty of care.” This means that they have a responsibility to keep their property reasonably free of hazards. However, the word “reasonably” is where things can get tricky. Essentially, the property owner must be aware of the hazard and take measures to deal with the issue in a reasonable amount of time.
In the winter, this means that property owners have a responsibility to clear their property of snow and ice to prevent injury. If they fail to do so, they can be held liable. However, the word reasonable means that they are not expected to clear all snow and ice at all times, just enough to create a reasonably safe environment.
For example, if the owner is aware that snow and ice are coming, they should put salt out to keep the snow and ice from sticking to the ground. But when the snow is actively falling, they are not expected to continually keep up with the fresh accumulation. After the snow has fallen, they have a responsibility to then create clear and safe pathways on their property within a reasonable amount of time. Additionally, they must avoid moving the snow and ice to another area that can still pose a hazard—such as creating a large pile that blocks another pathway.
Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim for Premises Liability
If you slip and fall on snow or ice on someone else’s property, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries and other damages through a personal injury claim. However, to prove fault, you must be able to show that the property owner was aware of the hazard and failed to take care of it in a reasonable manner within a reasonable amount of time.
For example, if you slip and fall on snow or ice that has just fallen or is actively falling, you may not have a case. But, if you slip and fall on snow or ice that has clearly been sitting there for a while, it may be proof enough to show that the owner breached their duty of care. Essentially, to prove fault in a premises liability case, you must show that:
- The property owner owed you a duty of care;
- The property owner breached that duty by failing to take care of a known hazard;
- The breach of duty led to the accident;
- Your injuries and other damages were a direct result of the accident and their breach of duty.
Kentucky Personal Injury Lawyers – Rhoads & Rhoads
Proving fault in a premises liability case due to the accumulation of snow or ice can be tricky, but it is not impossible. The team at Rhoads & Rhoads has experience handling these types of challenging cases. We are dedicated to helping injured victims prove fault to get the compensation they deserve for the financial, physical, and emotional burdens that can follow a slip and fall injury.
Call us at 888-709-9329 to schedule an appointment with one of our Madisonville or Owensboro personal injury attorneys. We offer free initial consultations, and all cases are taken on a contingency fee basis, so there is no initial payment required. We get paid only if we win or settle your case, and there is NO RISK involved.